Small business owners can now have their very own video broadcasting networks right in their pockets. Smartphone apps Periscope and Meerkat enable spontaneous or scripted recording of videos and instant broadcast to fans and customers on Twitter or Facebook. Here’s how it works…
Live Video Marketing
Both the Periscope and Meerkat apps are new in 2015, and their audiences are growing rapidly. The apps work similarly. Just start recording video on your smartphone anywhere, any time, and tap a button to share it with your followers.
The apps send notifications to all followers or selected groups, i. e., people you follow who also follow you, or just “family” on Facebook. Some of the marketing messages that can be live streamed include:
- Behind-the-scenes looks at production processes, customer service staff, etc.
- Live Q&As, tutorials, assembling or use instructions
- Showcasing new product launches
- Special promotions and coupons
- Spotlighting your company’s presence at events
It’s not just one-to-many broadcasting; viewers can respond to and interact with broadcasters. Therein lies the social marketing power of these apps.
Many consumers want to interact with brands in real time, asking questions about marketing videos they see. “Oh, that dish looks good! Is it gluten-free?” Questions like that can be answered in real time, and all followers will see the answers. Fans can “heart” a Periscope video, essentially up-voting it in Periscope’s ranking system and making it more visible to others.
Periscope is a Twitter property, and works only among logged-in Twitter users. Meerkat supports live-streaming to Facebook pages as well as Twitter feeds. Meerkat debuted a few weeks before Periscope, in February, 2015. Twitter briefly welcomed Meerkat but then acquired Periscope; now the two are rivals.
The differences between Periscope and Meerkat may affect which one you use; or you may decide to use both. Meerkat no longer has access to Twitter’s social graph, which makes it more difficult to acquire new follows and spread word of new videos to existing followers. Periscope’s videos remain available for 24 hours, but vanish from Meerkat when broadcasting ends. (Katch, a third-party service, solves that problem for Meerkat broadcasters.) Meerkat, on the other hand, reaches Facebook and Twitter users simultaneously.
Both apps have acquired several million users in the few months they have been available. Despite Periscope’s advantage on Twitter, the two live-streaming apps are virtually tied in audience counts according to GlobalWebIndex, a market research firm that tracks online consumer behavior for advertisers.
Among Internet users aged 16 to 64, 1.0 per cent use Periscope while 0.9 per cent use Meerkat, GlobalWedIndex’s July survey found. Periscope leads among users in the age 16 to 24 and 55 to 64 brackets, while the edge went to Meerkat in the middle age ranges.
Both live-streaming apps attract new followers in satisfying numbers, according to several social marketing experts who’ve tried Periscope and Meerkat. You won’t just be preaching to the choir, but also expanding your audiences on Twitter and/or Facebook.
These relatively new social marketing apps are not yet dominated by major brands. Smaller businesses that get into live-streaming now face little competition. The spontaneity of live-streaming lends authenticity to small businesses’ messages that stands in stark contrast to the slick, agency-produced commercials of large brands. Particularly among younger consumers, “keeping it real” can be a major marketing edge.
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